Aspen co-owner of Chronic Lodge hopes to match marijuana users with rentals
January 19, 2015
After nearly one year in development, the Chronic Lodge website — which seeks to match marijuana users with pot-friendly vacation units in Colorado and other places where the drug is legal — is expected to launch soon.
Chronic Lodge is the brainchild of longtime Aspen resident Joe Hope and his partner in the project, Brenden Petersen, of Carbondale. Hope said work is underway to make the website, at http://www.chroniclodge.com, fully functional for property owners with listings and those who want to rent homes, condos and apartments where they won't be bothered for using marijuana.
The two entrepreneurs are hoping for an early-fall start, he said.
"We have a couple of bugs to straighten out, and then we're there," Hope said Wednesday.
Chronic Lodge is a for-profit venture. Hope said the work to create it began in earnest in September. A lot of time has been spent on program software, hosting systems, legal research, graphics and other issues. He and Petersen don't want to give the site the green light until everything is working correctly, Hope said.
Hope and Petersen want to trademark the name "Chronic Lodge." But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office doesn't trademark names for marijuana-related businesses, Hope said. Though Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use, the drug is still recognized as illegal by the federal government and its departments.
They can kick off the business without the name trademark, but it's something they'd like to have, Hope said.
Chronic Lodge will fall under the category of companies that are part of the sharing economy, a system also known as collaborative consumption. Under this business model, information technology is used to put sellers (or, in this case, property owners) into contact with people who need their goods or services (renters). Businesses that provide the conduit for such peer-to-peer arrangements make money through a small fee based on a percentage of each successful transaction price. The popular website eBay is an example of such conduit.
"All we're doing is putting people together," Hope said.
He said they will start with listings in Colorado and Washington as well as countries that have legalized marijuana, such as Uruguay. But as other states and countries legalize marijuana for recreational use, the website will accept listings from those locations.
"Canada isn't too far off (from legalization)," Hope said.
A slogan for Chronic Lodge explains, "Your place, your rules." Hope said the property owners listing their units on the site will be able to stipulate the rooms and outdoor areas where marijuana smoking is allowed or not allowed.
He said the service will be discreet, upscale, professional and personable. He said he will assist those who want to list units and those who seek to rent if they have questions about using the website or the potential arrangements between parties.
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